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The best worst choice

The Daily Caller reports that recent efforts to get Obama to reconsider his choice of keeping Michele Leonhart as the head of the DEA have failed.

But according to a senior White House official, not even the combined grassroot powers of FireDogLake’s Jane Hamsher, a leading voice in the progressive community and a supporter of the single-payer health care plan abandoned by congressional Democrats earlier this year, and the 10th Amendment Center, which has provided guidelines to states that wish to repeal Obamacare, can derail Leonhart’s nomination.

Obama is confident that Leonhart is the right choice, the White House staffer said, and that as of Friday the president wasn’t considering anyone else for the position. In other words, the response from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. to a chorus of concerns boils down to: Leonhart or bust.

Michele is, of course, the bad girl of the DEA that thought lying on the stand was no big deal (it’s got to be a little bit annoying for her to put her name into Google and get my article from so many years ago still second on the list).

Of course, she’s horrible for the job. I think Eric Sterling nails it

The bigger issue is that Leonhart has demonstrated that she is unable and unwilling to take on the major job of the next DEA Administrator, which is to work with the states in developing medical marijuana laws that make sense.

But Eric also may have hit upon the reason for Obama’s decision…

I suspect that what compelled Obama to pick Leonhart is that he could not find anyone competent who was willing to take the lead in reforming an antiquated agency staffed with zealots committed to a hopeless mission. The rumor in D.C. is that everyone they asked turned down the offer.

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20 comments to The best worst choice

  • CarolDuhart

    That’s been my hunch too. When you look at it generationally, how many folks haven’t at least tried pot, especially if they went to college? It would be embarrassing to have the DEA head not have been completely abstinent from the very things they are professionally charged with denouncing. That is especially true with Democrats, who are more likely to believe that pot is personal, and who don’t have qualified candidates who have the required zealotry.

    So Leonhardt is it. Which is in itself a sign that the drug war on the informal front is dying a slow and ugly death. Once you could have found someone who at least would be a time server for the job with a decent resume. Especially in a time of high unemployment, one could easily find an ambitious lawyer with great background for just about any high-level governmental position. But this seems to be one job where there just isn’t a waiting list.

  • I’ll do the job. they shoulda asked me. I’d be perfect. I’ve done all sorts of drugs.

  • Ned

    Why can’t Obama be as clever as Reagan? Republicans have been the masters of appointing opponents of an agency’s mission to head the agency. This has been a SOPfor them. Obama is such a Boy Scout, he seems to think he HAS to appoint a full on drug warrior to head the DEA. Obviously, he lacks experience.

  • claygooding

    If you go to the DEA blog sight it only takes a few visits
    to figure out that the agents hate her as much or more than we do.
    If Obama is trying to divide and conquer he picked the right one.
    SpGNo,,,I never could figure out how I failed a drug test when I knew what everything was.

  • frijoles jr

    I can’t imagine why anyone would think that Obama would place any value on the opinion of Hamsher or the 10th amendment center. An advocate of single payer and an organization that opposes Obamacare would both be opponents to one of Obama’s highest profile policies.

    Since when do people in power listen to those who disagree with them?

    Long story short, I wouldn’t rule out nominating Leonhart because he agrees with her and/or to spite reformers.

  • kaptinemo

    Keep in mind who Obama’s ‘best buddies’ are: banksters. People who’ve made fortunes off of the laundering of dirty drug money. They want drug prohibition to continue, for obvious reasons. That’s all that kept them afloat during the Meltdown they engineered for the rest of us.

    Look behind the curtain at the Brookes Brothers-suited, impeccably coiffed (if they have hair) man with money of all Developed nations spilling out of his pockets as he’s throwing the levers and pushing the buttons…and pulling the strings…of the nation’s government…and its’ Chief Executive.

    Oh, but we’re not s’posed to say anything about that incestuous little relationship, now are we? Not allowed to mention it in polite company. Noooooo, we have to keep up the public charade that there actually is a War on Drugs, rather than what amounts to a Potemkin Village version of one that never targets the greatest beneficiaries of it, but instead goes after the least able to defend themselves from its’ hypocritical predation.

    So, of course Obama will appoint someone like Lyin’ Leonhart, practitioner of the ‘Noble Lie’, proof of which came from her support of known perjurer Andrew Chambers. Her (in)famous quote after Chambers had been revealed as serial perjurer? In an almost perfect Confucian avoidance of shame, she said:

    “The only criticism (of Chambers) I’ve ever heard is what defense attorneys will characterize as perjury or a lie on the stand.”

    “Characterize?” Chambers effin’ LIED on the stand! Repeatedly!

    This is the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ quality of the DrugWar, manifested in it’s chief prosecutor sanctioning perjury for a ‘noble cause’. She, like those employed by the ONDCP, passed her ‘litmus test’ by pissing on her own credibility rather than on a chemical-coated paper or in a plastic bottle. She deserves no respect, and receives none from her subordinates, who she in turn despises. They must hand out SSRI’s like Prozac at DEA HQ like candy.

    What a den of vipers…

  • Maria

    I’ll be the first to admit that I tend to not pay much attention to who TPTB are and their chess games. So, I’m not too familiar with this woman. Though I had heard of Chambers.

    The main impression I am getting is that this is the culmination of her single minded climb up the ladder. She will now hold the whip and she comes across as a true believer – at least to her side winning. She believes in that for sure.

    From her interviews and quotes, I get the notion (real or purposefully projected) that her participation in the “war on (people who use) drugs” has always been an extension of some childhood goal/dress-up game. One that is now abstract, perverted and also reinforced by the absurd notion that every act is OK in a ‘Good’ versus ‘Evil Doers’ world. As long as you are on the side that defines Good.

    So, awesome choice Mr. President! I’m sure she doesn’t need a copy of your dictionary, she’s come prepared with her own and there’s even less words in there than in yours! Yet….

    What if that’s the only solution left, politically? The DEA is rotting so badly that the only option left is to hope to speed up its death? But how can you do that without being too blatant and doing political damage to your own position, interests and party? You know, how can you be a coward and still save your own skin and protect the skins and skin lotion of all the people that paved your path to glory (as kaptinemo said)?

    I think it’s key that no reform minded individual will ever take the job. They would be crippled and would have to have sold their soul a long time ago. They would be infective without administration support, and no administration is willing to give that support, yet. However even with a crippled head the agency would chug on. Maybe even longer.

    So all he’s left with is the option to rub some more ideological and corrupt gunk in the wound with hopes that the limb will fester faster till it gangrenes and falls off (keeping our fingers crossed that it doesn’t kill the host first …)

    I really don’t know. It’s an interesting thought but I just can’t buy it entirely. I’d expect there would be other signs that the intent is to let the DEA rot and collapse under the weight of it’s own doings. Are there? Like at the federal and state levels? I’d expect to see budget cuts, resource migration and increasing road blocks to DEA operations. I’m not really seeing that yet. But truth be told, I’m not paying that level of attention either so it could be happening, no one would want to publicize those things.

  • ultimately, it doesn’t really matter who is signing the letterhead at dea.

  • Shap

    Obama is a spineless fuck. PERIOD. I would LOVE for Obama to visit Florida someday so I can ask him in one of his bullshit/softball town halls if he believes whether marijuana has any medicinal value and if so why it is categorized in Schedule 1 with PCP. Either that or ask him whether incarceration (as young Barry would have had to have endured if he would have been caught for his marijuana or coke use) would have been a positive experience for him/prevented him from becoming President.

  • CarolDuhart

    I think it’s simple. The DEA is an agency who’s mission is dying on the vine. Younger people don’t want or support prohibition, and older people just want their medicine unmolested. The DEA no longer has that much real support among the public, that considers it out of touch.

    It’s a catch-22. If you are qualified and informed, you no longer believe in prohibition anymore. If you truly believe in prohibition, you probably aren’t all that well educated. The result is that Obama simply can’t find anyone who wants to be the captain on the Titanic. It’s worth noticing again that even in a deep recession, no one wants this job even as a waystation to some other job.

  • Shap

    Not that they would ever survive confirmation but considering their law enforcement backgrounds I would love to see what guys like Neil Franklin or Norm Stamper could do as DEA administrator.

  • Just me.

    Not that they would ever survive confirmation but considering their law enforcement backgrounds I would love to see what guys like Neil Franklin or Norm Stamper could do as DEA administrator.

    LOL those walls would fall quickly.

    Corrupt in, corrupt out. Name of the game in government. Just love how they gloss over everything and make seem like they are the ‘GOOD’ guys. Frakkin’ criminals all.

    End the fed, get rid of congress , replace the president with a black box, put it on his desk to let it tally the votes of “We the people” on all issuses, then maybe we can get things done….

  • claygooding

    Larry = Michelle
    Moe = Obama
    Curly = Kerli
    And the stooges play for prohibition industrial giants, the pharmaceutical companies and the bankers.
    What angers me most is that the industrialists created the prohibition of marijuana in the first place,then had our congress create the federal bureaucracy that not only oversees the WoD but is in complete control of the scheduling,testing and research done on cannabis.
    These prohibs spend about 500 million in lobbying funds
    to protect their profits and we the tax payers cover the costs of the WoD,appx 200 billion a year.
    And most of it is paid right back into these prohibs
    for their part of the prohibition machine.
    So basically they invest 1/2 billion and get a return of their share of 200 billion.
    How do we get in on that?

  • evil of two lessers

    Antiquated agency hits the nail on the head but don’t stop there the whole system is obsolete.

  • CarolDuhart

    Everybody talks like the industrialists really care about prohibition. The real supporters of prohibition are far more humble: religious purists, people traumatized by substance abusers who feel prohibition would at least stem the damage, and the corrections-industrial complex that needs prisoners for its funding.

    It’s worth noticing that hemp is fully legal elsewhere in the world as an industrial product, and there has been little pushback locally in places like the Netherlands and in Eastern Europe where pot has been relaxed. If the industrialists and the drug companies were behind the continuation of prohibition, billions would have been spent there to keep things under tight control.

    Notice how underfunded the opposition to 19 is: 40K overall, and unless the Mormons or Baptists weigh in, the number is likely to remain small. Even the religious are getting to the point where they would rather not go through another failed crusade against something that’s popular and hard to persuade people to refrain from using.

    The real power of prohibition these days is a combination of fear and inertia. There’s a vague fear that legalization might create chaos: inertia in that it’s easier to just go along with the status quo in just about anything. But the power is weakening with the information that’s now readily accessible, and the status quo is no longer affordable.

    So victory is now in sight.

  • claygooding

    Carol,
    One chemotherapy treatment costs from $30 to $40 thousand dollars. Most patients requiring chemo need 5 to 7 treatments.

    Our society now has a 1 in 3 chance of contracting some form of cancer.

    A statistical study done in Spain reported that regular marijuana smokers had 65% less occurrence of head and neck cancer.

    As far as I know,no one has statistically checked on the possibility that other cancers could be blocked the same way although there have been several studies that reported that it was possible that marijuana was blocking lung cancer,prostate cancer,breast cancer and others. Each of those studies recommended further testing and our governments drug testing agency,NIDA ignored them.

    The last thing the pharmaceutical companies want is a cancer blocking medicine you can grow in your yard.
    The pharmaceutical companies do not have any cancer blocking medicines and they don’t want one.

    At $150 thousand to $240 thousand per patient on chemo
    we are not talking about pocket change.

  • Voletear

    MainMexMan Calderone has slammed the US for failing to do anything about addiction (such as approving HAT), maintaining the US isn’t helping and that the guns flowing south are what the US oligarchs real stake in all this is. He also proposes to improve Mexican Justice by the implementation of “anonymous judges.” Reports are that he is serious. Ba-da-bum!

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100819/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/lt_drug_war_mexico

    As the situation continues to deteriorate in Mexico and elsewhere and Calderone increases the finger-pointing in an attempt to deflect criticism of his terrible policy, the DEA will be ever more irrelevant and Michele will regret the day she took the job.

  • Duncan

    Some cops/wannabes seem to have an extra special problem with admitting when they are wrong regardless of the evidence. I went to the drug store for drugs again yesterday. Got my drugs and some trail mix, paid at the check stand. Turned around to leave and was transported into a parallel universe without my knowledge. The security agent for the store accosted me and accused me of stealing aspirin. Goddamnit I wish I hadn’t been so fucking tired but at that point I just wanted to get my sinuses cleared and into bed. I should have torn him a new asshole. But I just kowtowed and showed him my receipt at which point he tells me that he saw me pocket the aspirin, and saw me put them into my left front pocket and points to the bulge in that pocket. I told him it was my fucking wallet and pulled it out to show him, again, because I’m so friggin’ tired. He kept up with his bald faced lie that he had ‘seen’ me do it, that he should have just ‘taken’ me then so that he could have ‘sent me to jail’ where I belonged. This asshole couldn’t accept that he’d fucked up and made allegations that weren’t true. I was wearing a pair of gym shorts and a wife beater. For a moment I entertained the idea of dropping my shorts to show him that I was freeballing and couldn’t have concealed them in my crotch as they would have fallen right to the ground. Instead I said ‘whatever’ and left, with him still muttering under his breath that I had ‘gotten lucky’. Let’s add up the evidence. All of my goods are on my receipt that he inspected. I had not purchased aspirin. He didn’t know that I had stomach surgery in 2007 and the doctor doesn’t allow me to take aspirin or ibuprofen as a result because I could get a horrid reaction that it might even include gastro-intestinal ulcers which would require major surgery. If there are two things in that entire store that I would never buy or even steal those two things are aspirin and ibuprofen. Despite the pile of evidence that he was a bald face liar and incompetent at doing his job, despite the fact that I had a receipt, despite the facts that there’s just not that many places a guy wearing a wife beater and shorts could conceal stolen goods, and despite the lump in my pants that he identified as the aspirin turning into my wallet, this fucking asshole wouldn’t admit to being wrong and of course no apology for being such a dickheaded imbecile was forthcoming. No matter the pile of evidence, he was right, I had attempted to steal the aspirin, and somehow ‘gotten lucky’ and decided to pay for them as he decided that it was the Benadryl which I had purchased.
    His attitude reminded me of that PG County asshole cop who killed two guys that delivered his furniture order to his apartment. It’s also very possible this guy was an off duty PG County cop as that store is about 500 feet outside of the PG County line in Montgomery County and they do rent their cops out for private security.
    One interest reaction was after I woke up this morning, and was actually wished I had ended up incarcerated. Alas, he didn’t take it that far so no 6 or 7 figure settlement with CVS for me. Well if not incarcerated maybe at least telling him that I hidden them up my ass and he could do a cavity search because he was so cute. That would have been good for shits and giggles.

    Wow did anyone know that you can order coffee cups, t-shirts and custom greeting cards with the phrase shits and giggles embossed? There is not a doubt in my mind that the planet is severely over capacity with humans and that the herd needs to be at least cut in half.
    http://tinyurl.com/2eg67m3

  • Duncan

    I really disagree that Mr. Obama fits the definition of a stooge. He is playing the starring role in the war on some drugs, no?

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/stooge